North West Bicester News

New architectural impressions of NW Bicester's eco town houses are unveiled  

Artists impression

Construction of the UK’s first eco town at North West Bicester (NW) in Oxfordshire will begin later this year and architectural impressions of how the ground-breaking homes in the first, exemplar phase will look have now been released by lead developers, A2Dominion.  

The first phase will contain 393 highly efficient homes for existing and new residents of Bicester, built to be true zero-carbon. Constructed in four stages, exemplar will encompass the UK’s largest residential solar array, feature technology designed to cope with climate change of up to 10 degrees Celsius and aims to reduce car usage from the current Bicester use of 67.5 per cent to 50 per cent.

A demonstration building showcasing a range of the very latest eco technologiesopened in Garth Park last year. The latest images show that the exemplar homes will incorporate some of these types of technologies, such as solar photovoltaic panels, timber frame and triple glazed windows and doors and the homes themselves are designed to be aesthetically appealing.

“The architectural impressions allow prospective buyers and residents of Bicester to fully appreciate the aesthetic quality of our homes,” said A2Dominion project director, Steve Hornblow. “Achieving environmental integrity has in the past often meant compromising on style, but we want NW Bicester to fully integrate into the landscape in which it sits.”

First residents are expected to be in their homes by the end of 2013.

Artists impression

The images show wide, open streets and communal areas. Community space will incorporate communal barbecue areas, herb boxes, allotments and seating and will be designed to encourage children to play in the street safely.

“This is an ambitious project which will create a truly unique development when taken as a whole. NW Bicester approaches sustainable living realistically, providing people with the tools to benefit from a real community environment, reduced home running costs and the latest green technologies,” added Mr Hornblow.

For more information about the UK’s first eco town at NW Bicester visit


Green light for UK's first national eco town scheme

Phase one of the NW Bicester eco development has become the first eco town scheme in the country to receive the green light for work to start, with construction due to begin later this year. Constructed in four stages over the next five years, this ground-breaking phase of development will integrate cutting-edge eco technology, economic opportunities and community engagement to provide the flagship homes of tomorrow for Bicester.

Cherwell District Council's Planning Committee approved A2Dominion and P3Eco's application last August, subject to a legal agreement ensuring community infrastructure for the benefit of existing and future residents of the town.

This process is now complete, after close collaboration with Oxfordshire County Council and Bicester Town Council, giving the development full planning approval to proceed.

image depicting NW Bicester signing

Conditions of the agreement meet with Eco Bicester's aspirations for a more sustainable community as a whole.

The first Exemplar phase, set within 50 acres of which 40 per cent will be green space, will contain 393 highly-efficient homes, constructed by A2Dominion, for existing and new residents of Bicester.

The houses are designed to be truly zero-carbon and deliver exceptional quality of life for residents.

Built to an inspiring level of sustainability (Code Level 5), the development will include significant levels of insulation, high thermal performance and rainwater harvesting.

Exemplar will encompass the UK's largest residential solar array to generate electricity and benefit from a highly-efficient district heating system, all of which will lead to much lower household bills for residents.

Cherwell District and Oxfordshire County Councils are set to spend a portion of the pump-prime funding received from the Government, in addition to a contribution from P3Eco, to provide a school and an Eco Business Centre.

The aim is to ensure no additional pressure is placed on existing schools and that small businesses have the facilities available to them from which to take root.

These elements combine to benefit the whole town and the money being spent up-front will be recouped from developers as building progresses.

The Exemplar will encompass well-designed cycle and pedestrian routes throughout, include a bus service with real time information and have charging points for electric vehicles.

The school, retail and business elements are designed to be central to the development creating a village feel.

Community space will incorporate communal barbecue areas, herb boxes, allotments and seating and will be designed to encourage children to play in the street safely.

As part of the commitment, A2Dominion will be facilitating the development of a community-led governance structure to offer both existing and new residents and businesses the opportunity to come together to make decisions about the issues that affect their immediate area.

Meanwhile the Local Business Portal has already seen a high level of interest from local businesses and suppliers accessing information on the opportunities to get involved.

Together, the council and A2Domininion are committed to achieving 20 per cent local labour on site and A2Dominion is already working with Bicester Job Club and Jobcentre Plus to accomplish this. A minimum of ten apprenticeships will also be made available over the next five years.

Councillor Michael Gibbard, Cherwell's lead member for planning, said: "We have made sure that the first Exemplar phase of development at NW Bicester will set the scene for what follows.

"We are proud that the scheme will include many unique features to reduce the impact of the new development on the environment. We have put our money where our mouth is to guarantee that infrastructure is delivered along with housing rather than afterwards."

Councillor Hilary Hibbert-Biles, Oxfordshire County Council's cabinet member for Growth and Infrastructure, said: "The signing of this agreement is of significance for Bicester.

"This project is a clear sign of how the local authorities can work together for the benefit of the town.

"It will be important that these working relationships continue as this project moves towards being delivered"

Richard Mould, chairman of planning at Bicester Town Council, said: "We welcome the granting of planning permission for the Exemplar phase of the NW Bicester development.

"We look forward to work starting on-site in the coming months and the beginning of the new exciting developments in sustainable living."

Ian Inshaw, chairman of P3Eco Bicester, said: "P3Eco Bicester was established to provide a consortium to deliver the NW Bicester eco town.

"As the facilitators of the project, P3Eco Bicester brought to the consortium master planner Sir Terry Farrell, A2Dominion as the developer and provider of affordable homes, Barton Wilmore as planning consultants and Hyder as the consultant engineer to deliver this ground-breaking project.

"P3Eco Bicester are delighted that Cherwell District Council have now granted planning permission to build the exemplar of 393 houses which will be the first step to delivering the whole project.

"As the developers our partners A2Dominion will now take forward the Exemplar phase. For us at P3 this is the end of the beginning to a project which we remain passionate about and cannot wait to get on with facilitating the rest of it."

Steve Hornblow, NW Bicester project director for A2Dominion, said: "The A2Dominion Group and our partner P3Eco are very proud to be working with Cherwell District Council to deliver the UK's first eco town at North West Bicester.

"This is an ambitious project which will create a truly unique development. NW Bicester approaches sustainable living realistically, providing people with the tools to benefit from a real community environment, reduced home running costs and the latest green technologies.

"As we prepare to begin work on the first phase later this year, and with a highly experienced consultant team in place, A2Dominion is looking forward to also advancing the masterplan for the wider site, with much already being done in tandem with the development of Exemplar."

Nicole Lazarus, of sustainability advisors BioRegional, said: "The Exemplar at NW Bicester is shaping up to be one of the greenest schemes ever built in the UK.

"We hope these beautiful new homes will show the way to a sustainable future. BioRegional are very proud to helping that to happen."

Sally Coble, area environment planning and engagement manager, from the Environment Agency said: "We're delighted the partnership working between the district and county council, the developers and the Environment Agency has resulted in such a ground-breaking scheme.

"But this is just the beginning. Scheme's such as this show that sustainable development is possible and should be replicated across the country. 


Community ownership plan for North West Bicester

North West Bicester (NW Bicester) developers, A2Dominion, and Cherwell District Council, are preparing a business plan which will guide the potential development of a new community-led governance structure within NW Bicester.

The plan will aim to offer residents and businesses the opportunity to come together to make decisions about issues that affect their immediate area through a new community organisation.

LouiseCaves, strategic partnership co-ordinator at A2Dominion, said: “As a housing provider, A2Dominion has a lot of expertise in community involvement and engagement. Working with Cherwell District Council and Bicester Town Council, we are committed to involving local stakeholders in the development of a partnership structure that enables both the existing and new community to participate effectively in the future running of the eco development.

“We are currently undertaking a lot of work to understand people’s interests and capacity to be involved in the early development stages and how this approach could potentially benefit Bicester as a whole.

Councillor Michael Gibbard, Cherwell's lead member for planning, said: "We have said all along that we would encourage strong community involvement in this project.

"Our aspirations for NW Bicester and the wider Eco Bicester project will only be fully realised if people living in the town choose to actively engage with the process."

For more information about NW Bicester and to sign up to the monthly Friends of NW Bicester e-newsletter


Resident survey shows high awareness of eco development

The results of a survey commissioned by A2Dominion at the end of April, shows a high level of local awareness for the NW Bicester eco town development.

In order to ensure community engagement with the scheme, A2Dominion ran the survey to create a benchmark to measure local resident’s knowledge and opinions about NW Bicester. Residents in Bicester Town Centre and Bure Park were asked which elements of the scheme they felt were the most important. 63 percent believed bringing existing and new communities together in Bicester was the most vital element, with 58 percent believing the environmental aspects were important. 

The survey showed that 82 percent of respondents believed that sustainable living is important and that residents wanted to be involved in the project through focus groups and public consultation, as well as by receiving information through the NW Bicester website.

Community Workshop guides the future of eco town development

A second community workshop was hosted by A2Dominion to explore the opportunity to create a Local Management Organisation (LMO) at NW Bicester and to scope the potential for key stakeholders, from across the community, to be involved in the early development stages.

Participants took part from Bicester Vision, the Chambers of Commerce as well as local youth and faith, community and voluntary groups and included members of Bicester Town Council, Cherwell District Council and Oxfordshire County Council.

The workshops are part of a number of events planned by A2Dominion for the year, which will look not only at the first phase of the development that will see 393 homes built, but also at the proposals for the rest of the scheme enabling the people of Bicester to have a real say in its design.